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My life in travel

Pieter Dirk Uys loves travelling around the world, but his favourite place in South Africa is his garden.

– Diane de beer, Sunday Tribune, 23 April 2015

Satirist Pieter Dirk Uys tells Diane de Beer about his favourite experiences abroad...

First holiday memory?

In Kleinmond on the white sands aged 2 where I would crawl around kaalgat and introduce single ladies to my dad. Ma laughed a lot.

Favourite place in SA?

My garden where we have 49 species of bird, four dogs, three cats and sometimes a partridge in a pear tree.

Best holiday?

Can anything beat the Antarctic on New Year’s Day — perfect sunshine, blue sky and rainbow explosions through the icebergs.

What have you learnt from your travels?

It’s damn hard work and if you want to do it in a haze of booze, stay at home and watch TV.

Ideal travelling companion?

Someone who knows how to read maps, get tickets at stations via the computers, has some of the language of the country, can run and hail a cab and wait for me to catch up, laughs a lot and doesn’t mind if I avoid art galleries. Meet in the coffee shop and I buy the postcards of what was seen on the second floor.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Combination of all three: dress like #1, plan for #2 and become #3.

Greatest travel luxury?

On a boat where you have a small cabin and the privacy of sleep and relaxation.

Holiday reading?

On the way to St Helena a book about Napoleon; on the way to Easter Island a book on the Rapa Nui and those statues, on the way to the Isle of Skye in Scotland The 39 Steps.

Where has seduced you?

Italy in the late 1960s. La Dolce Vita on the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples watching Jackie Onassis drink a cappuccino and film director Visconti walk his dogs and boyfriend.

Worst travel experience?

The daily schlep out to a casino on the East Rand to do a show.

Best hotel?

One in Venice, one in Paris, one in Berlin, one in London and then in New York: The Algonquin.

Favourite walk, swim, ride or drive?

Walking in the gardens of Potsdam (Berlin), swimming in the sea off Thailand, riding in train whenever possible and driving early to airports.

Best meal abroad?

What people who live there recommend. If you can’t pronounce it, it tastes even better.

Favourite city?

Berlin where my mother was born and Marlene Dietrich is buried and where the world went through the hell that we tried to copy with apartheid.

Where next?

New York for 10 days and five days in London to hug old friends before we all die! Can’t waste time nowadays.

* Uys turns 70 in September. He has just ended a four-week run at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino theatre with his show, An Audience With Pieter-Dirk Eish!

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from 2015